Jamaica | Mar 3, 2023

Passion meets destiny with La Mona Designs Luxe 

Candice Stewart

Candice Stewart / Our Today

Reading Time: 5 minutes
CEO and Creative Director of La Mona Designs & Variety/La Mona Designs Luxe, Romona McLean-Foster. (Photo: Contributed)

As a child, Romona McLean-Foster, CEO and creative director of La Mona Designs Luxe, would make paper dolls and paper clothing for her dolls to wear.

That may have been the first indication that bespoke fashion design would be part of her future. However, her future in fashion design may have been ordained before she was born.

McLean-Foster has a few aunts who are established seamstresses and she learned in her adult years that her maternal great grandfather was a tailor. 

“When I was younger I was always interested in art. I would draw on walls, in the back of books and I would make paper dolls and cut out little clothes for them. I never got to play with dolls as a child because academics were stressed in my household. However, I really wanted a doll so I made one myself. Even though I longed for a Barbie doll of my own,I still enjoyed my childhood using lots of creativity and imagination,” McLean-Foster said in an interview with Our Today.

“I always wanted to be a fashion designer,” she said.

“Leaving high school, I thought that dream would never materialise because I did not get the support from loved ones. My dream was frowned upon as they wanted me to be a doctor or lawyer. But I wanted to stand out and do something different. I really liked the idea of fashion and becoming someone who interacts with people where I get to express myself artistically,” she continued.  

“I learned how to sew for myself and also about the different parts and aspects of a sewing machine in high school. I would also see my aunts sewing. Additionally, my paternal grandma would give me hand sewing kits. She also taught me how to crochet and created hand-made bags, crochet doilies and ragdolls,” McLean-Foster said, hinting that some level of support, though small, existed.

Not deterred by the overall lack of support, McLean-Foster held her ground and stuck by her dreams. She had desires to study fashion design abroad after experiencing career days in school with representatives from various universities where fashion was among the options presented. However, the lack of support and her lack of awareness of appropriate routes to take dampened her spirits, though it did not stay that way for very long.

After leaving high school, she attended the HEART Trust/NTA Garmex Academy and learned pattern making. She recalled also having to do some amount of sewing in the process. She shared that her first time working with an industrial sewing machine was a scary one.

“I was so scared because, when it turned on, everything flew off the table and I jumped out of that seat so fast,” she said, laughing. 

CEO and Creative Director of La Mona Designs & Variety/La Mona Designs Luxe, Romona McLean-Foster. (Photo: Contributed)


“La Mona Designs Luxe’ falls under the umbrella of the brand name, La Mona Designs & Variety. The ‘variety’ spoke to the fact that I wanted to create gift items as well. Mona is my nickname and I love the Spanish language. That’s where the ‘la’ comes in. ‘Luxe’ was added to provide a more luxurious feel and a more empowering vibe. The brand is more than just sewing and clothes. It’s a whole experience,” she explained.

The umbrella company name was established in 2014 and McLean-Foster created the luxe version in 2022 after her phone was stolen and she lost access to everything related to the umbrella company. As a result, she restarted. 

Versatile exotic palm black and white romper designed and created by La Mona Designs Luxe. (Photo: Contributed)

“My tagline and mantra is ‘versatility, comfort and style’. So, whatever look I create, I try to adapt elements of comfort. The pieces are usually reversible and transformable. I always like to have those elements in the clothing so that my clients can wear the pieces however they feel. They can wear the pieces separately or as a suit or even mixing and matching with clothes they already have. Even when a client approaches me with a unique design, I try to make it as interchangeable or versatile as possible while keeping it bespoke,” she said. 

She designs suits, rompers, dresses, pants, skirts, among other types of clothing. 

McLean-Foster is also a champion for repurposing and reusing material to limit any negative environmental impact her business might have.

She said: “I like to repurpose material. When I create a piece and there is scrap material left over, I try to minimise my waste by creating earrings, and accessories from it.”

Shift my style rainbow snake print tube dress designed and created by La Mona Designs Luxe. (Photo: Contributed)
Navy versatile maxi wrap dress with reversible denim daffodil print bandana circle sun hat. Designed and created by La Mona Designs Luxe. (Photo: Contributed)


Though McLean-Foster is the CEO and Creative Director of La Mona Designs & Variety/ La Mona Designs Luxe, she also works with the Kingston Creative team as the content administrator for Kulcha Connect. 

Kulcha Connect is a mobile application that connects users with downtown Kingston tours, art, and heritage. It highlights various tours of the downtown Kingston experience, unique art, a calendar of events, and an interactive map that showcases information about the spaces in downtown Kingston. The Kulcha Connect app also falls within an overall project that curates a virtual space where patrons may purchase products from creative entrepreneurs on the website. 

Kingston Creative’s Kulcha Connect app. (Photo: Instagram @kulchaconnect)

La Mona Designs & Variety/La Mona Designs Luxe is one of the vendors in that space. 

“Being part of Kulcha Connect means a whole lot to me because when Kingston Creative first pitched the idea, it was so exciting! I wanted to mix creativity with technology and I was so happy and proud to be part of that. I am glad to be able to connect with amazing creatives and entrepreneurs in Jamaica where we can have that worldwide reach and impact. It gives me the opportunity to experience the culture in a rich way, sort of like an ‘out of many one people’ vibe. It’s just a big win for Jamaica in my eyes,” McLean-Foster said. 

She added that she believes creative people help the economy to grow.

“I always had the concern that the lawyer and doctor market was too saturated, but being a creative person has no limit to what you can do or become,” she said. 

You may contact Romona McLean-Foster on Instagram @lamonadesignsjamaica 

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